Guelph artist Seth knighted in France
Gregory Gallant, better known by his pseudonym Seth, has been named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres – or Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters
A famous artist from Guelph received a high honor from a European country.
Gregory Gallant, better known by his pseudonym Seth, has been named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres – or Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres – awarded annually by the French Minister of Culture to those who have “significantly contributed to the enrichment of French cultural heritage.”
To simplify things, think of it as the Order of Canada in a sense.
Recipients of this order are awarded a medal on a green and white ribbon, and just like in Canada, there are three ranks: Knight (Knight), Officer and Commander.
However, unlike the Order of Canada which is only awarded to Canadian nationals, citizens of foreign countries are still eligible for the Order of Arts and Letters.
The 59-year-old received his medal in a ceremony at the home of the French Consul General in Toronto, Tudor Alexis, an enjoyable experience he was invited to take part in.
“Anything you’re the center of attention is something you want, and also something you dread,” Seth told GuelphToday.
“I could have asked them to mail it to me, but my wife said – and she was right – ‘you really should take the chance of something like this, it’s not like it’s going to happen very often. “”
Flip the pages a bit to when Seth first received the notification, he didn’t know exactly what was going on, as the letter he received in the mail was written in French.
“Once in a while, as an artist, you win prizes that you’re not aware of, like an illustration prize, or a book design or something like that,” he said. .
“So I thought it was something like that and was about to put it on the shelf with some other stuff like that, when I thought I should google it and see what that means.”
When he realized what it was?
“I was a little surprised,” he said.
But where does its link with France come from?
“I thought that myself,” he said. “I have no specific idea why my name has come to the surface, except that I suspect that between Canada and France there are probably people trying to establish links between the countries and I have quite a long history with the French language world. I’ve had a lot of books published in France.”
If there is another connection, Seth said his name could have come up because of his long-standing ties to the Angoulême International Comics Festival, one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the world.
Seth won a Special Jury Prize at the festival in February 2020 for his graphic novel Clyde Fans.
And now, some 40 years into his career, the awards keep pouring in.
And despite all the success, he remains humble.
“I have been blessed with many professional successes that have given me the chance that the world has changed enough that the type of work I do can now be considered a mainstream art form,” did he declare. “It’s been an incredible transformation over the last 40 years, going from being completely marginalized to really being a really great honor like this.”
Seth said the medal is in one of the main display cases in his living room at the moment. He plans to frame it, but wants it accessible in case he wants to wear it one day.
“I could frame it in a frame that you can open,” he said.